5 ways to be a better friend
We all know marriages need to be nourished. But what about your friendships? Do you know how to feed and water them to keep them strong and healthy? Here are 5 things to consider when refreshing your friendships.
1. Agree to disagree
Allowing for differences may be the single most important way to upgrade your friendships. Expecting others to think, feel and do things as we would leads to judgment and can be detrimental to a budding or longstanding friendship. Sometimes you have to take a step back and let someone you care about be who they are.
2. Active listening
Feeling unheard can break up marriages, so friendships are at real risk. Active listening is a skill you may need to practice, but it can work wonders to repair or strengthen those all-important companionships. To listen actively means to engage with what your friend is saying while remaining fairly quiet, only breaking in to get better information. Holding back opinions or judgment and just letting your pal get it all out may be hard, but it’s worth it. You can ask for clarity or a present concept she may not have considered, but do it sparingly and with her feelings in mind.
3. Calming drama
Good friends won’t hype you up, they’ll calm you down. If you want to be a good friend, keeping your girls from getting into trouble is invaluable. Notice when your friend is falling too deeply into her emotions and then talk her off the ledge, while understanding why she wants to jump.
4. Receiving feedback
Good friends are open to feedback from others. You don’t have to be everything to everyone, but be open to hearing how those who care about you feel about you. If one of your friends tells you something less than pleasant about yourself, hear her out. You may not agree, but let her express her views and give her the benefit of the doubt. Her feelings are real and valid, but she may not understand where you’re coming from. Acknowledge those feelings and then sit with her truth, or explain why she would misinterpret what’s actually happening (without throwing it in her face).
5. Individual attention
You can instantly uplift any friendship by giving your girlfriend (or platonic guy-friend) individual attention. An out-of-the-blue phone call, walk in the park or lunch date to check in and catch up may be just what the doctor ordered. Getting together with a few friends is a good way to socialize, but won’t build stronger friendships with each person the way one-on-one time can.
Being a better friend is actually fairly easy. It just takes a little thought and some time. Don’t stress too much, just make sure you’re giving the friendship you want to get in return. Be open to the person you’ve decide to make a big part of your life and make sure they still know how meaningful they are to you.
Georgia D. Lee is a University of Miami Alumna who seeks to empower, inspire, enrich and educate anyone with an open mind, heart and spirit through her most treasured medium – black and white!